Cliff + the Hosta

This is a tail (ha ha) of a dog and his love of hosta.   It’s the weirdest thing.  Our dog Cliff is obsessed with the stalks of hosta plants.  You’ll find him out there under the leaves munching away.  We can’t for the life of us understand why.  If anyone out there has a clue, definitely let me know!

Here are some hosta crime scene pictures.  Naughty Cliff!

Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce + Leftover Polenta

Remember when I told you about my favorite polenta dish with peppers and bacon?  Well, I made it last night and have a bunch of leftover polenta, so I decided to make a quick (and vegetarian) dinner tonight with some eggs from our backyard chickens.  This is really simple and really good.

First, you need to whip up a simple marinara sauce.  Now don’t freak out, it’s really easy and quick.  Just take a half red onion and dice it up and sautee it with some olive oil. 

Add in some chopped garlic.  I used some we had drying in our garage from all the garlic we harvested last summer

Cook those two until nice and golden brown.

Next, add in some diced tomatoes and a few spices. 

I always tell you guys how I don’t really measure anything, and that’s not really true.   I measure like this … two of these of salt.

One of these of red chili flakes.

A dash of pepper.   And whiz together with an immersion blender.  I love that thing.

Oh, and I almost forgot, add in some Italian seasoning — about the same amout as the chili flakes.

Okay, now here’s the important (and fun) part.  Taste it.

Mine tasted a little acidic-y.  So I added this much sugar.  Sugar can really make the tomatoes not taste so funky.

Once you get your sauce tasting delicious, bring it down to a medium high heat and drop the eggs in.

Put the lid on and cook for about 15 minutes.

Scoop out an egg and some sauce and spoon over your left over polenta …. and yum!

New Gardening Tool

We’d better get a move on it.  It’s already the middle of April, and we still haven’t really cleaned up the yard and garden from last year.  It’s not that we’ve been lazy, it’s just we’ve had a few other things to tend to.  Well, namely one BIG thing.   Bet you can guess what that is by our new favorite gardening tool for 2011.

Yep, we had a baby!  Little Miss is a few months old now and we’re still figuring out how to get out in the yard with an infant around.  I think the pac n play on the patio might just do the trick!

World’s Most Expensive Taters

Remember when we planted those potatoes in garbage cans in the backyard to see if they would yield us a nice crop of red and yukon gold taters?

Well, it was finally time to dig them up and see what we’d got.

I’m happy to report we have officially grown the world’s most expensive potatoes!  We got about 3 lbs of red and 2.5 lbs of yukon gold potatoes and all said, it probably works out to about $10/lb!

Oh well, it’s just fun to do a little garden science experiment in your backyard.  Happy harvest to you!

Gifts from the Yard

We’re headed over to to a BBQ this afternoon at our friends’ place and instead of bringing a bottle of wine or a cute dish towel or one of the usual “thanks for having me over” kinda of gifts you bring when you go to someone’s house, I thought I might try to see what goodies I could bring from my yard.

Not only is it more economical (aka cheaper), it’s more personal and kinda fun — and since it’s the height of harvest season, we have lots to choose from.

I think the basket I put together turned out pretty, cute — don’t you?

We’ve got thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil, broccoli, green beans and lettuce in there.  What do you bring when you go over to people’s houses?

Garlic Overload

It’s been 9 months since I planted my garlic, and it is finally ready to harvest!  This was the first time we tried garlic, and it really took off.  We now have 31 heads of garlic — each from one little clove we planted.  How cool is that?

Here they all are after being pulled out of the ground and washed off.

And now they need to dry out in the sun for a few weeks before we store them for use the rest of the year.

Oh, and speaking of that 9 month growing period for the garlic… I’m sorry I’ve been so MIA on the blog lately but it’s because I’ve got my own (very first!) 9 month little peapod in the works.

Happy July, everyone.  Hope your garden is being good to you!

Garden Updates

At long last, a new post!  Sorry, sorry, sorry. I promise I’ll be better. We’ve had a few things going on these last few weeks that have been keeping me busy, but I miss giving ya’ll updates — so here goes.

The weather has been crazy bad these last few weeks, and so this weekend we are cleaning up from all that the wind and rain has done.   It ain’t pretty.  Our veggies haven’t died despite the cold and crazy weather, so I’m grateful for that.

I got a hankering to take out a shrub I’ve long hated in the front.  Nothing feels quite as good as destroying something!

And in the back, remember the potatoes we planted in garbage cans? They’ve totally taken off and have almost grown out the top!   We’ve been adding dirt as they grow, since that’s what I read you’re supposed to do, and so far they are looking super healthy.   I am going to be so excited if we get a big crop of potatoes later this summer.  And from a garbage can, craziness!

And you know how I planted my lettuce in hanging baskets a few weeks ago?  They are doing great.  In fact, we need to start eating salads this week as they are ready to harvest!

The chicken veggie bed we planted for them with chard, arugala and lettuce is coming along, too.  We’ll have to let the girls at it soon. 

Our snap peas keep growing up, up, up the trellis and the broccoli and cauliflower in front of them are hanging in there.

We’re super excited about the brussel sprouts we planted this year — we haven’t done those before. They are doing well, too.

The bed with part of the garlic, radishes and carrots is doing great.  In fact, I was able to harvest a big bunch of radishes today!

And I pulled up one carrot, but they are still teeny tiny.   But so cute!  Gotta wait a few more weeks until they are ready to go.

I’m working on my menu plan for the week tomorrow, and promise to post a recipe or two soon.   Happy Memorial  Day, everyone!

Master Gardeners Rock!

Now I might be a little biased, but Master Gardeners are just about the coolest people around.  I mean, my mom is one, and she’s pretty darn cool (hi, Mom!) but seriously, check out the Master Gardener chapter in your area — they are all over the USA and Canada. 

Here’s the official statement about they are all about —  “The Master Gardener program, conducted throughout the United States and Canada, is a two-part educational effort, in which avid gardeners are provided many hours of intense home horticulture training, and in return they ‘pay back’ local university extension agents through volunteerism. Master Gardeners assist with garden lectures, exhibits, demonstrations, school and community gardening, phone diagnostic service, research, and many other projects.”

What’s really, really cool is that most chapters host a big spring plant fair each year that is a fantastic place to get your summer veggies and other plants.  We went to the one in our area this weekend — it was awesome!


Make sure you go early, as the line of cars to get in might be kinda long.  Eeks!

They had all these cute little signs with Master Gardener facts all around — it was pretty cute.

There were over 200 plant vendors selling everything from veggies to air plants to trees to crazy garden art. 

So many people had a wagon or little cart with them.  We need to get one for next year!

And of course the Master Gardeners themselves were out in full force — volunteering at their booth, hosting 10-minute classes on all sorts of gardening topics and patiently answering all the millions of questions thrown their way.

After we scoped out all the booths (it took us over an hour just to walk all the way through!) we finally settled on what we were getting and from whom.  We found some veggies that were just perfect.

Without a wagon, we carried our goods out to the car the old fashioned way.

Here it is all ready to be planted — can’t wait to show you how it all looks in the ground!

Salad Bowls

I’ve had this kooky idea for awhile that instead of planting flowers in my hanging baskets this year that I would use them to grow lettuce in instead.  Who knows if it will work, but I set it all up today. 

First I gathered my hanging baskets from last year, made sure they were clean and the coconut liner was still in decent condition.

Next, I cut some plastic to fit in the bottom of each one — to keep the water inside and reduce the chance of them getting too dry.   I did put some holes in the bottom of the plastic so they can drain.

Here they are all lined and ready for dirt and plants.

I used butter crunch lettuce, red and green leaf lettuces in my baskets.

I also made one with strawberries — yum!

Alright, they are all ready to be hung up on the fence!

Here they are all hung — see all of them all along the back there?

We’ll see what happens, but I’m excited!  Anyone try this and have any advice for me?

First Harvest

Spring has been a little finicky around here this year — started off with super sunny weather that tricked us in February and then the last few weeks have been super chilly and rainy.  The seeds and starts I planted in early March have gotten off to a slow start …. but today, we had our first harvest! 

A big bunch of radishes!

Lots of arugula and spinach!

And the carrots are coming along.

The snap peas are making their way up the trellis.

A few little buds are starting to appear on the blueberry bushes.

The potatoes are sprouting in their garbage cans.  Remember when we planted those?

The girls are going strong with their 3 – 4 eggs a day.

And the most beautiful blue flowers are blooming all over our rock wall.  Aren’t they just stunning?  We love them.

We’re going to have a big yummy salad tonight with the goods from our harvest.  After I cleaned all the spinach and arugula and chopped off the tops of the radishes, the girls got a salad too from the leftovers.   They loved it!

Happy harvesting!  Hope your garden is being good to you!